IPONZ to let firms register patents online

Owners of valuable intellectual property will soon be able to register it faster and more simply - online.

Owners of valuable intellectual property will soon be able to register it faster and more simply — online.

The Intellectual Property Office is readying a slew of new capabilities for its website, the first of which will let organisations renew intellectual property registrations online.

IPONZ is keen to follow the example of the Companies Office, through whose website organisations can submit and request a range of services. At the moment the IPONZ website offers registered users little more than an enhanced search.

The renewal of intellectual property registrations using credit cards will be followed by the online registration of trademarks by the end of June and, later, patents.

IPONZ has been testing the renewal feature with a couple of organisations in New Zealand and Australia, says business support manager Paul Carroll. A couple of small enhancements have come out of the trial, with the service to go live to the public in mid-April.

The agency has done the development in-house with the help of developers of the Companies Office site, a fellow agency of the Ministry of Economic Development. IPONZ employs an Oracle database with Microsoft and Netscape tools, and liberal use of Adobe’s PDF technology. IPONZ outsources its imaging to an outfit in Tawa called Desktop Imaging, which also handles Companies Office imaging.

Carroll says the changes are being made to improve ease of use, particularly for overseas clients, reduce paper-handling and lower costs to business. He believes the online renewal of IP may be a world-first — applicants can get an initial reply in five days — and says the response of triallists has been good.

IP specialist AJ Park was one. Partner Ken Moon says as far as online transactions are concerned the larger intellectual property law firms will get enthused when they can send data from their case databases without the need to rekey anything, by, for example, using XML files.

“Double keying into our own systems and the IPONZ system is not a happy thought. We file lots of patent and trademark applications every day.”

Moon says speeding up examination time of trademarks and patents, including by using email instead of standard mail, is an excellent move, as long as quality of examination is not sacrificed for quantity. “It is not in the public interest to have invalid [trade] marks or patents on the register. Speedy examination, if not done properly, will lead to a greater number of opposition proceedings brought by aggrieved parties.”

Moon says he would like to see greater attention being given on the website to patents, his particular area of interest. Most of the effort has gone into trademarks to date, he believes.

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